By Louinn Lota
CHINATOWN, Los Angeles – Even though it was Mexican Independence Day, the Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles inducted its officers, welcomed new members, allowed karaoke, and once again bid a fond farewell to beloved Philippine Consul General Mary Jo A. Bernardo-Aragon.
Celebrating its 34th year, FAPCLA installed Thelma Calabio as its new president along with officers: Mylah de Leon, vice president; Andy Edralin, secretary; Lydia V. Solis, treasurer; Manny Patolot, auditor; Louinn Lota, PRO-Print; and Benny Uy, PRO-Photo. Board directors inducted were: Naomi Palma-Armada, David Casuco, Vics Magsaysay, Cecile Ochoa, Dante Ochoa, Leo Pandac, Evelyn Portugal, and Lou Sabas. (Board chairMyrna Aquitania and boardmember Odette Ricasa were out of the country).
Members who were also sworn in were: Nicanor Arriola, Joe Cobilla, Francisco Paras, Jr., Sokie Paulin, Larry Pelayo, Marc Pijuan, and Ted Talag. Past president Ludy A. Ongkeko attended the induction. Other FAPCLA members who couldn’t make it were Linda Lopez-Mapes, Dindo Reyes, Jerry Ubalde, Muni Zano, and former president Rose Vela.
Celebrating her 33rd year in service to her country, ConGen Aragon was once more feted in a non-tribute-tribute that included popular comedian-entertainer Bernardo Bernardo, and a host of musical talents, or people who thought they had musical talent, taking a turn at the mic.
“Eh, Papa, nakalimutan mu na yong ‘Moon River.’ Isa lang Moon, at isa lang River,” Bernardo quipped as photog and FAPCLA member Joe Cobilla had to keep restarting the karaoke machine for his Andy Williams solo.
More than 100 guests filled the banquet hall of the Mayflower Chinese restaurant in Chinatown on Sept. 15, the day that marked the beginning of Mexico’s decade-long war of independence from Spain. The mostly Filipino Americans in attendance enjoyed an eight-course Chinese meal in truly diverse L.A. fashion. We even had a Filipina Ukranian model, Thelma’s niece Evien Obracevic, sing “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About.” Other performers were Conductor Bob Shroder, Andy Tecson, Romy Borje, Rhony Laigo, Atty. Roman Mosqueda, Juliet Posadas, and other surprise talents.
ConGen Aragon brought her mother, her sister and brother-in-law with her and talked about her tenuous biological connection to Bernardo Bernardo. Bernardo started getting flustered when people, not on the official program, began coming up for a turn at the microphone.
Gracious as she always is, ConGen even stayed long enough for a cha-cha, a boogie-woogie and some disco dances and posed for paparazzi, professional and personal, who snapped photos or took videos all night long. Some were posted to Facebook and Twitter feeds almost immediately.
“I-Facebook mo yan, ha,” said new FAPCLA member Sokie Paulin, coordinator of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, L.A., as she inverted her iPhone to take more snapshots and video of the event.
FAPCLA thanks souvenir program advertisers Estacion Foundation, Famegate, Dichoso & Company CPA, Inc. and Dichoso & Company, Inc. Real Estate and Financial Investment Services, Law Offices of Roman P. Mosqueda, Attorney at Law Alma L. Reyes, G. Monty Manibog, Esq., Attorney at Law & Associates, Queen Lola Pageant 2012 Winners, Aleli Abrigo & Friends, Francisco Paras, Jr., Actor, Pinoy(Watch)Dog.com, and the Calabio Family.
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